December 15, 2008

Medical Malpractice Payments To Become Public Record

Barry Smith reported on the website on September 1, 2008 that North Carolinians will soon be able to view via the internet whether a doctor they have seen or a doctor they plan on seeing has been making medical malpractice payments. The rules have been crafted by the North Carolina Medical Board and are waiting to be put into service. The rules require doctors along with physician assistants to make public all malpractice payments greater than $25,000 made after October 1, 2006. Legislative review of the rules is an option this coming year and seems a certainty.

"It's just a way of becoming transparent," said Jean Fisher Brinkley, a spokeswoman for the medical board. "We're beefing up the online profiles for physicians and physician assistants." The information that will be available online will also include any previous crime convictions and or if the doctor has been reprimanded by a medical board or federal agency.

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December 1, 2008

Maryland Medevac Crashes Questioned

A Review of 26 fatal medevac crashes shows many didn't involve life-or-death missions, according to a report by Robert Little posted on on October 23rd, 2008.

The review, by the Baltimore Sun, of accident records and other helicopter documents on the 26 fatal medevac crashes in the United States since 2003 shows that many did not involve urgent, time-critical missions. At least eight involved patients who waited longer for a helicopter than a ground ambulance might have needed to drive them to a hospital. And at least six were for patients discharged soon after a helicopter dropped them off at a hospital.

Officials at the state agency that oversees emergency medical care in Maryland plan to convene a panel of national specialists to review the state's medevac system and recommend potential improvements. The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public hearing next year to explore the potential causes of the sharp increase in fatal medevac crashes, including eight this year.

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